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Ovechkin Named a Finalist for Calder, Pearson

by Staff Writer / Washington Capitals
52-Goal Scorer Rookie of the Year, Outstanding Player Candidate

Washington, D.C. – May 4, 2006 – Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin was named as one of three finalists for the Calder Trophy, given to the NHL rookie of the year, and the Lester B. Pearson Award given to the most outstanding player as voted by the NHL Players Association, the NHL announced today. Ovechkin is one of only four players to receive multiple award nominations. The winners will be named at the NHL Awards Show, June 22 in Vancouver.

Ovechkin finished the season as just the second NHL rookie in  the league’s 89-year history to record 50 goals and 100 points in his first season, joining Teemu Selanne. Ovechkin’s 52 goals and 106 points both ranked third all-time among NHL rookies. He set Capitals rookie records for goals, assists (54), points, power-play goals (21) and shots (425). Ovechkin’s point total was the second best in Washington Capitals history and his goal total was tied for third in franchise history.

Ovechkin led all NHL rookies in goals, points, power-play goals and shots. He finished third overall in NHL scoring and tied for third in goals. His 425 shots not only led the league and set an NHL rookie record, but also was the fourth-highest total in NHL history.

Ovechkin had a hand in 46.09% of Washington’s goals this season (106 of 230), the second-highest total in the league this year. In the history of the NHL, only Hall of Famer Nels Stewart of the 1925-26 Montreal Maroons was more involved in his team’s scoring (46.15%, 42 of 91) as a rookie. Ovechkin scored an NHL-high 22.6% of his team’s goals this season (52 of 230), second all-time among NHL rookies behind Selanne (23.6%, 76 of 322).

Washington’s first-round choice in the 2004 Entry Draft (first overall), Ovechkin was the NHL’s Offensive Player of the Month and Rookie of the Month in January. He also earned NHL Rookie of the Month honors in December. He was an All-Tournament Team selection at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, where he starred for Russia.

The Calder Memorial Trophy, named after former NHL president Frank Calder, is given to the most proficient first-year player in the NHL as voted upon by the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association at the end of the regular season. Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh Penguins) and Dion Phaneuf (Calgary Flames) were also nominated for the Calder Trophy. No Washington Capitals player has ever won the Calder Trophy.

The Lester B. Pearson Award is presented to the NHL’s most outstanding player as selected by members of the NHLPA. The award was first presented in 1970-71 by the NHLPA in honor of the late Lester B. Pearson, former Prime Minister of Canada. Other Pearson Award nominees are Jaromir Jagr (New York Rangers) and Joe Thornton (San Jose Sharks). Ovechkin would be the youngest player, first rookie and first Capital to win the Pearson Award.
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